Introducing Jeff Wu, CEO and owner of CaliPaso Winery in Paso Robles. The winery has a production facility off of Buena Vista Drive and a tasting room on 13th Street in downtown Paso Robles. It’s a fun experience with a good variety of wines on the list and a great patio to sit on with a glass of wine and watch the world go by.
Note: this Q&A originally appeared on Paso Robles Daily News.
Matt: If you weren’t in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
Jeff: Finance for sure. I am a numbers guy, always calculating in my head. That would be an area where I can excel.
Matt: What interests/hobbies do you have outside of the wine world?
Jeff: The food! I like to explore new restaurants and cuisines wherever I travel. Being in the wine industry has enhanced that experience through tasting wine around the world and the food it can pair with.
Matt: What is your favorite wine region not including Paso Robles?
Jeff: In US, they will have to be Monterey and Sonoma.
Matt: What’s your current favorite wine/variety/winery to drink?
Jeff: Roar 2016 Soberanes Vineyard Pinot Noir, very elegant and complex.
Matt: What is your favorite aspect of the wine business?
Jeff: The people for sure! I have met so many incredible people through the years working in the wine business. There are many talented, passionate individuals that are not just selling the wine, but their love of the wine.
Matt: How long have you been in the industry?
Jeff: Five years.
Matt: What different parts of the wine industry have you worked in?
Jeff: Since I was new in wine business, I felt the need to be in every role in the wine industry to understand it better. I worked with our winemaker during harvest, designing labels with the designer, worked trade shows and tasting events, worked as a tasting room associate, and managing financial data in the office.
Matt: Where are you from originally?
Jeff: I was born in China and immigrated to Canada when I was 12.
Matt: How long have you been in the Paso Robles area?
Jeff: I have been in Paso Robles since 2014.
Matt: What was your first job in the industry?
Jeff: I became the owner and CEO when our family purchased the winery. However, I was not afraid to get my hands dirty. This helped me to learn the basics of wine business quickly.
Matt: What is your first wine memory?
Jeff: My first tradeshow where I tasted through wines without knowing I needed to spit them out. It was both funny and memorable at the same time.
Matt: What is your favorite part about Paso Robles?
Jeff: The friendly and helpful people.
Matt: Where do you see the industry in the Paso Robles region going? Do you see any interesting new trends or directions?
Jeff: We purchased the winery in 2012, for the past 7 years, Paso Robles has been getting more recognized by a lot of travelers and is becoming a big wine destination.
Matt: Why do you think Paso Robles has become such a big wine destination?
Jeff: First is the location. It’s very easy to get here from northern and southern California. Second is the price. Paso Robles wines are reasonably priced with the quality of wines produced. Third are the people. People in Paso Robles are very friendly, which enhances the wine tasting experiences for the travelers.
Matt: When you’re not drinking wine, what’s in your glass?
Jeff: Just water or iced tea.
Matt: What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?
Jeff: Nothing can beat a nice medium-rare rib eye with a glass of cabernet sauvignon. My Second favorite is lamb chops with a glass of pinot noir.
Matt: How many acres of vines do you have?
Jeff: Fifty one acres.
Matt: How many cases are you producing each year?
Jeff: We produce around 20,000 cases including private labels.